Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter

Flesh and Blood (House of Comarré)

As we all know, paranormal romance is one of the hot genres to write in these days.  The sheer volume of books out there means that finding something original is getting harder.  I was pleasantly surprised to come across Kristen Painter’s debut novel Blood Rights, as its twist on vampires, shifters and ghosts resembled almost nothing I’ve previously read.  The second novel, Flesh and Blood, is just as original as the first book.

(Description nicked from B&N.com.)

“With the ring of sorrows still missing, and the covenant between othernaturals and mortals broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city neither of them is welcome in.

The discovery that Chrysabelle has a brother could mean reneging on her promise to Malkolm, something that might make him angry enough to loose the beast living inside him. And fulfilling her vow could prove devastating for Chrysabelle —- especially when you throw in power hungry witches, dead fringe vampires, and the Kubai Mata.”

What I liked most about this new entry in the series is that it shows that Painter isn’t going to be content to simply retell the same plot over and over.  That’s the sin that many paranormal romances commit: they go in circles trying to keep the romantic tension high and yet still maintain some semblance of an active plot.  Painter doesn’t do that; rather, she pulls in new characters and introduces new plot threads that mesh well with the initial ones.

I also admire how the author isn’t afraid to throw her characters into some dark and nasty situations.  This isn’t a series where main character status protects you from serious harm.  Painter proves that nobody is safe in this world and bad things can happen at any moment.  While I don’t believe that either Chrysabelle or Malkolm will be permanently killed anytime soon, they’re not immune to some of the more painful realities that this story dredges up.

With so many novels in the genre including pages of graphic sex, I liked how the sexual tension between Chrysabelle and Malkolm remains just that—tension.  I don’t think we’ll see the two of them in bed—or even kissing outside of the necessity of giving Chrysabelle her needed infusion of vampiric power—anytime soon.  And the tension between them is real, without the posturing and posing that other authors might give their characters.  This pair has to learn to like each other through the realities of being bound to each other in a vampire/comarre relationship.  It is this dynamic that gives the story much of its energy.

I give props to Kristen Painter for creating a story that combines energy and action with a believable attraction between two very different characters.Flesh and Blood is an engaging and satisfying novel that injects some much needed originality into a genre that is threatening to become stagnant.  This series is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Also by this author: Blood Rights

This review appeared on Owlcat Mountain on January 30, 2012.

Series: House of Comarre
ISBN: 9780316084765
Publisher: Orbit
Page Count: 432
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Acquired: Personal purchase
Author Website
Read an excerpt